Reconstructive breast surgery, active lifestyle

Hi All,

My partner who has just turned 43 has been diagnosed with breast cancer very recently. While waiting for treatment to start, we are trying to navigate the jungle of reconstructive breast surgery, which seems to be very strongly promoted by the doctors.

My partner who leads a very active lifestyle and practices yoga several times a week is going to have a lumpectomy and is actively thinking about minimizing the amount of surgery (potentially not having any reconstructive surgery at all). She is very skinny with A-sized cups; the doctors are indicating that they will need to take out roughly 25% of the volume of one her breasts.

Has anyone else been in the same situation, and might be able to help us with some thoughts about what she is considering, both good and bad?

Many thanks

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Hello there. I hope my experience might be of some help although I am sure others will be along to give their perspective too.

I am now just 8.5 years on from diagnosis at 51. Right mastectomy on a B-cup size breast after original treatment plan of lumpectomy only. I was devastated when mastectomy was recommended. I’d suffered from an eating disorder when I was in my late teens/early twenties and was very afraid that invasive surgery would revive such anxieties.

Although I was given the option of using my own tissue (autologous) reconstruction, as I am of a modest cup size my surgeon suggested an implant would perhaps be appropriate, especially as it would be my first experience of surgery and, frankly, I was terrified.

My experience so far has been positive and I have not had any negative experience as someone who is very active (even more so after my diagnosis) after the surgery I have had. I’ll be honest and say that my reconstruction helped enormously with recovery from a mental health perspective.

All that said, several people I went through treatment with who didn’t have reconstruction post-mastectomy are living life to the full. It’s very much a personal decision I am sure and anyone should go with what feels right to them. I would not change the decision I made, especially as I know how fortunate I was having had very positive outcome from surgery but my outcome is not the only one.

Good luck with the decision you make.

P.S. I also meant to say that the fact that your partner is healthy and active will stand them in good stead with recovery whatever decision they make. It’s a huge advantage, as well as having the supportive partner that you obviously are.

Both my partner and I find your reply very helpful. Thank you PeggyCat!

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I was in a similar boat a year and a half ago; except as soon as I had my
diagnosis, I instantly knew I wanted a mastectomy with an immediate reconstruction.

My reconstruction was with implants and was nipple sparing.

I have actually had both breasts done now and I love the result. I lead a very active lifestyle too!

The best thing about having my new breasts is that I don’t always need to wear a bra so low cut back dresses now look amazing!

Ofcourse it’s all a personal choice but I would definitely make the same decision again.

Sending much love xx


I am normally a reasonably active person -Morris dancing, orienteering and parkrun. Currently not doing as much while I have chemotherapy. Not because I can’t but because I am prioritising working. I found I was needing a nap most days after work.

I had a mastectomy back in 2020 and decided not to have any reconstruction. I was soon back to my normal activities without any problems.

Earlier this year my annual mammogram found a suspicious area. I had a WLE at the end of July. Again I haven’t had any reconstruction. I have had chemo, which has been completely manageable, with minimal side effects. I probably could have carried on with my normal activities, but we became a bit hermit like to avoid contact with too many people. I do various stretching exercises most days to keep my mobility up and hope to start running again soon.


These choices are so personal. My surgeon spend a lot of time talking over options, with honest information about risks and recovery time. As I’m slim with small breasts, a reconstruction to replace the space left after removing the tumour would not have been feasible, and being 60 years old at the time of surgery I wasn’t keen on an implant knowing with the real breast looking different. So I opted for a mastectomy in Summer 2021 and was provided with a silicone prosthesis that is just the right weight and fits very neatly inside a pocketed bra. With small breasts (30D) it feels very natural under my clothes. I even wear the prosthesis while doing my daily yoga because it makes me feel balanced than with the flat side. But again everyone has different feelings and some people really embrace the flat side (albeit it’s not easy to find a one-sided bra). Best of luck with surger(ies) and recovery.


These decisions are not easy because it’s so personal and we never had to consider them before. Best of luck to your partner. My surgeon listed the options with great honesty and gave me plenty of time to decide. Reconstructiob was not feasible because of my small (30D) breast and lack of body fat to fill in the gap left by removing the tumour. Being 60 years of age at the time I also did not opt for an implant not relishing the idea of have one pert breast and another going south. So I opted for a mastectomy, had the surgery in Summer 2021 and have lived happily using the silicone prosthesis that I have been provided with inside a well fitted pocketed bra. The prosthesis is just the right weight so I even wear it while doing my daily yoga as it makes me feel balanced. Again everyone has different feelings and some women embrace being flat on one side (albeit, it’s not easy to find bras that work for only one breast). If it’s really hot in the summer I’ve been known to use the little softie fabric temporary prosthesis that was given to me during recovery from surgery instead of the silicone one!

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Thank you Carrott, scientistamafier and Onebreasted for sharing the decisions you made, and why you made them. It is truly helpful to hear your thoughts and know that there are people like you from whom we can take inspiration!

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